Within a couple of months, in the public imagination, Kickstarter seems to have gone from 'brave new world' to 'bored already'.
But there are still plenty of projects getting funded and/or building up an audience.
One such is Camouflaj's République. Headed up ex-Halo 4 and Metal Gear Solid 4 man Ryan Payton, its target is $500,000.
Only problem is that with three days to go, only $285,000 of that target has been pledged.
We caught up with Payton to get his take on the experience so far, and why you should dig deep for the cause of triple-A mobile games.
Pocket Gamer: First up, you've still got quite a long way to go on the Kickstarter goal, so do you think $500,000 was perhaps too much for a start up to ask?
Ryan Payton: After our first day on Kickstarter, it was clear that this was going to be a rabid dog cage match to make it to our $500,000 goal.
But with that said, I don't think that asking for $500,000 was too much. We asked for what we needed. If we had set the bar lower, I'm not sure how I would have messaged it. I would have had to come up with some fabricated excuse as to why we would only need $200,000, and I don't think that's what Kickstarter should be about.
I think we need to be honest and transparent with the community. République is a high-tier game project and requires a six-figure sum to create. The truth of the matter is that, in terms of game budgets, République is an absolute bargain.
I know that people in the community have really struggled with the notion that this game will cost over a million dollars to make, but the reality is that it would cost at least five times that to produce this at established companies like EA, Sega, Activision…
At the end of the day, all we can do is be upfront with what we're doing and see how the community responds. That's the cool thing about Kickstarter - it's not up to some old dude in a boardroom - it's the decision of thousands of people who are the actual people playing these games we're making.
What do you think makes République special?
République is special because of the connection players have with Hope, our main protagonist, and the 1984-inspired world we're creating.
The action gameplay is also very unique, as we're creating a deep and visceral action game that throws out all the tropes of console gaming controls and instead focuses on simple controls that anybody can jump in and play.
I like to think that we're trying to share the awesome gameplay moments that console gamers have had for the past two decades to a much wider audience through the iOS and PC/Mac platforms.
What is/what do you think will be the most challenging part of development?
Our small size is probably our biggest challenge, and budget is entirely connected to that. Having come from 150+ team sizes on projects like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Halo 4, it's been a challenge for me to focus the our seven-person team on a smaller set of features and allow them more time to create them.
With that said, we developed everything you saw in our trailer in less than three months. That's incredibly impressive fiat, even for a large team.
How difficult is it to co-ordinate work between Camouflaj and the team at production house Logan?
At first it was challenging because we were learning how Logan works and they were surprised at how much iteration game projects go through. Thanks to the trailer and proof-of-concept work, we've now got an established workflow that's working very well.
During the first few months, I spent about a third of my time in Los Angeles working at Logan, but now we can coordinate everything through Skype and email. It's great.
You're attempting to prove the market for expensive, triple-A story-based games. What's your view on pricing models, notably the move towards free-to-play and/or IAP within a paid game?
We're watching the App Store very closely as it seems like pricing is evolving every day. Our philosophy is that we're open to any sort of pricing models as long as it doesn't interrupt or intrude on the gameplay experience, so that definitely means no ads in République.
How big is the République universe? Is it bigger than one game, bigger than games, where could the character end up?
The République universe is massive and cannot be encapsulated in one game.
But with that said, I'm 100 percent focused on the story of this game and making sure it's a great, standalone experience. If the game sells well, then we know we have a lot of room for more great stories in the universe.
What's the one thing you would say to potential Kickstarter backers who haven't yet committed?
My message to potential backers is that we really need their support in helping us maintain control over the creative and IP. Because this game is a relatively large indie project and we don't have deep pockets, it's going to be virtually impossible to fund the entirety of République and make the game we want.
We're believers in this crowd-fund revolution as it puts more control in the hands of the creators and those who are buying our games. In exchange for helping us fund the game and stay in creative control, the teams promise to make the most innovative and hard-hitting game we possibly can!
Thanks to Ryan for his time.
You can pony up for République via Kickstarter.